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Biol Cell. 2006 Feb;98(2):79-88.

Forgotten and novel aspects in pancreas development.

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  • 1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Zentrum Biochemie und Molekulare Zellbiologie, Abteilung Entwicklungsbiochemie, Justus von Liebig Weg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


Diseases related to the pancreas are of highest importance in public health. It is anticipated that a detailed understanding of the molecular events that govern the embryonic development of this organ will have an immediate impact on clinical research relating to this issue. One major aim is the reconstruction of embryonic development in vitro with appropriate precursor cells, a second strategy is aimed at understanding the transdifferentiation of non-pancreatic into pancreatic tissue, and a third avenue is defined by the stimulation of the intrinsic ability of the pancreas to regenerate. Recent progress in developmental biology with respect to these different topics is reviewed in the present article. In addition, we also address evolutionary aspects of pancreas development, emphasizing the role of the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, as an additional useful model system to study the molecular control of pancreas development.

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